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Todd Isberner
ShareMedia Services

Four Fund Raising Principles




From the time Moses constructed the tabernacle to the present day, God has financed His work through the generosity of His people. Christian Radio stations and other ministries have the sometimes precarious but always privileged task of asking for financial help. The Bible records a number of examples that, when examined and applied, can transform our attitude and approach in asking for money.


To keep fund-raising appeals consistent with the Bible, ShareMedia uses four scriptural accounts that provide guidance when asking for money. 


1. Givers need to be stirred.  Exodus 35 and 36 record Moses following God’s instructions to take up an offering for the Lord’s tabernacle from; “All whose hearts were stirred and whose spirits were moved to bring a contribution” [Exodus 35:21].


When people are stirred up to understand the impact of God’s work, it is more likely they will be moved to give. But when “stirring” people to consider giving, fund-raisers must function more like a coach. Coaches motivate, inspire, plan strategies, and infect their team with a passion for winning. We need to do the same when we make an appeal for money trusting the Holy Spirit to do the leading.


2. Givers need an atmosphere of celebration.  The basis for the “celebration of thanks and praise” during your on-air fundraiser is taken from 1 Chronicles 29. King David took up an offering for his son Solomon to build the temple. The whole event was characterized by prayer, praise and sacrifice.  “The people rejoiced over their offerings, for they had given freely and wholeheartedly to the Lord … [v. 9]

...And all the assembly blessed the Lord and bowed low and did homage [v. 20]... And on the next day they made sacrifices [v. 21]... So they feasted and drank in the Lord’s presence with great joy that day. [v.22].”


It’s the cheerful giver in whom God delights.  Therefore our appeals need to avoid badgering, guilting and begging and instead be characterized by exuberant worship that invites people to celebrate. By creating the right atmosphere in your appeals, giving can be a joy-filled experience putting God in the center of the spotlight.


3. Givers need to be challenged by role models.  To learn the fine art of making appeals and seeing good results, study the Apostle Paul’s financial appeal to the Corinthians on behalf of the Jerusalem church.  2 Corinthians 8 and 9 are two chapters rich with Holy Spirit-inspired wisdom in knowing how to ask for financial help.


Paul was loving, direct, and grateful; he used a persuasive approach in the way he framed his request. He challenged the well-to-do Corinthians with an example of sacrificial giving from the poverty-stricken Macedonians. But he did it in a gracious way that gave encouragement rather than condemnation.


People need role models and like to respond to a good challenge, especially when they know it will produce the kind of results Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 9:12 – “So two good things will result from this ministry of giving – the needs of the saints in Jerusalem will be met and they will express their thanks to God.”


4. Gifts and the Giver should be honored.  We all know this but often still fall short in practice.  When I came across this passage, it shook me because it cuts a little deeper into our attitude and treatment of the giver’s contribution.


When Jesus boasted on the widow’s mite at the temple treasury, He may have been thinking about this from Numbers 18:32 – “You Levites will not be considered guilty for accepting the Lord's tithes if you then give the best portion to the priests.  But be careful that you do not treat the holy gifts of the people of Israel as though they were common. If you do, you will die." 


Here’s how we might interpret this: Those in ministry who make a living from the gifts that God's people provide must honor the gift by also giving a portion to others. There must be a high regard for those gifts as holy and belonging to God.  If someone in ministry does not give back to the Lord's work or takes for granted the offerings of God's people, the Lord will bring judgment.


Here’s how we might apply this principle:

      Faithfully give to God’s work.

      View the offerings as belonging to God Himself.

      Never judge the motive of the giver.

      Treat each gift as though it were given sacrificially.

      Place a higher value on the giver than the gift.

      Treat all fundraising as acts of worship to God.


If you apply the same principles, methods and motivations in your fund-raising appeals, expect people to give: “as unto the Lord” [Colossians 3:23]; “from each one whose heart prompts him to give” [Exodus 25:2]; “not grudgingly or of necessity: for God loves a cheerful giver” [2 Corinthians 9:7]; “because with perfect heart they offered willingly” [1 Chronicles 29:9]; “not only supplying the needs of God’s people, but also overflowing in many expressions of thanks to God” [2 Corinthians 9:12].


Todd Isberner is president of ShareMedia Services, Inc., a consulting firm specializing in fund raising for listener supported Christian radio and faith-based ministries.  Since 1975, ShareMedia has produced and hosted over 3,500 fund raising broadcasts, raising over $1 billion for radio and ministry.


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